Age and Generation (Society Now) by Mike O'Donnell

By Mike O'Donnell

Age and iteration introduces scholars to the most sociological and anthropological matters surrounding this subject, from early life to previous age, and focuses, particularly, on formative years tradition.

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They attempt to ‘win space’ just as their parents win space in their traditional cultural activities. They create a certain margin of collective 49 freedom and expression. However, ‘resistance’ is perhaps not the best descriptive term for this process. The word ‘negotiation’, sometimes used by Hall and Jefferson, seems a more neutral and precise base term. Subcultural negotiation can involve adjustment as well as resistance to dominant structures. But very often subcultural activities seem to be less categorizable than either term accommodates.

Berg and Braverman recognize that qualifications carry weight in the employment market but they would agree with Bowles and Gintis (1976) that the underlying mechanism for occupational selection is social class and, I would add, the state of the employment market itself. There is no future in being qualified for a job that is not there! The interaction of the educational system with class, race, and gender factors will be analysed in Chapters 3 and 4. Eton and ‘Bash Street’, of course, tell us a different story.

First, as a piece of evidence about the role of culture in structuring adolescent experience, Coming of Age in Samoa must be treated with the utmost scepticism. Not to mince words, Freeman states that Mead’s account is ‘fundamentally in error’. Second, he makes a general methodological point. He supports Karl Popper in advocating that researchers should attempt to disprove or ‘falsify’ their own hypothesis. This is more rigorous than trying to prove it. Clearly, Mead did not adopt this approach and Freeman argues that her commitment to a belief in the strong formative power of culture prevented her from achieving rational and impartial analysis.

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